Exploring Stockholm

After arriving in Stockholm on our SAS flight from Tromsø, we took the Arlanda Express to Stockholm Central before making the short walk over to the Sheraton Stockholm. After checking in and dropping our bags, we headed out to explore the city.

Day 1

We grabbed a quick lunch at a dumpling place around the corner before starting off towards Gamla Stan (Old Town). The Old Town is located on an island in between two of the shortest rivers in the world, the Norrström and Söderström, connecting Lake Mälaren with the Baltic Sea. To get there, we first walked down the pedestrian only Drottninggatan Shopping Street.

Drottninggatan Shopping Street in Stockholm

Located along this street was the Rosenbad, a building that serves as the Prime Minister’s Office. The building was built in 1902 and had an impressive stone facade.

Rosenbad building in Stockholm Sweden

At the end of the street, we crossed a bridge over the Norrström with the Gamla Stan and Parliament House in the distance. The weather was hovering right around freezing and large chunks of ice were flowing down the river.

Bridge Crossing the Norrström with Gamla Stan in the background

We walked through the courtyard of Parliament House and crosse a small channel onto the main island of Gamla Stan. We followed Västerlånggatan, The Western Long Street, through Old Town towards the water, passing many shops bustling with tourists and locals.

people walking through a stone walkway
a group of people walking down a street with Gamla stan in the background

It took about 20 minutes for us to cross Gamla Stan and we arrived at the water’s edge of Stockholms ström. This is the beginning of Saltsjön, a bay that leads to the Baltic Sea and is large enough for seagoing vessels to transit.

Overlooking Stockholms ström from Gamla Stan Stockholm

We crossed over Söderström onto the island of Södermalm and walked along the waterfront. There were great views back across Stockholms ström and eventually we found ourselves at Fotografiska, an art museum located in an old customs house. It was too late in the day for us to go in, but the exterior was unique, especially set against the cliffs behind.

a water next to a body of water
a large statue of an eyeball in front of a building

We continued along the water before doubling back on the high side of the cliff. The street, Folkungagatan, was steep initially but leveled off into a nice walk. The streets were busy as the residents of Stockholm were getting off of work and heading home. We decided to take a break and popped into a local bar to relax for a bit.

two glasses of beer on a table
a bar with people sitting at the counter

It was 6:00p when we left the bar and we started making our way back towards the hotel. We took some back streets, passing by the Södra Teatern, on our way to the Katarina Bridge. The views from up here were fantastic!

a city at night with a crane and a river
a city at night with a body of water and a city in the background

The bridge had an elevator at the end which dropped us at the bottom of the cliffs back along the waterfront. We passed back through Gamla Stan and headed back towards our hotel.

a city with many lights on buildings and a body of water
a building with many windows
a snow covered garden in front of a large building
a building with lights on the side of the water

Back at the hotel, we headed for the Club Lounge where social/cocktail hour was underway. The snacks in the lounge were good, but not hearty enough to be considered dinner. Instead, we decided to head back to Gamla Stan and grab dinner at Zum Franziskaner, a German restaurant with an extensive menu and great atmosphere.

Zum Franziskaner Menu Stockholm

I had a delicious schnitzel while Mrs. ATX had a sausage dish that she enjoyed.

a plate of food on a table
a plate of food on a table

We finished dinner before 10:00p but were too exhausted to do anything else. Stuffed from dinner, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day 2

For our second day in Stockholm we slept in a little and, after a hearty breakfast at the hotel, headed out in the direction of Södermalm. We crossed from the hotel into Gamla Stan, passing by the House of Nobility on our way.

House of Nobility in the Gamla Stan area of Stockholm

Crossing a small canal, we found ourselves on the island of Riddarholmen. The Riddarholmen Church dominates the landscape of the small island. The church is the burial ground of Swedish kings and is the city’s only preserved medieval monastery church. They were charging a small entry fee (roughly $6 for an adult) so we only checked out the exterior.

Exterior of Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm

A heavy fog was setting in across the Stockholm archipelago but we still had a good view of Södermalm as we crossed Central Bridge. Parts of the water here were frozen over and footprints were visible where people had been walking.

a snowy field with trees and buildings in the background
a snowy city with buildings and a body of water
a frozen river with buildings in the background
a frozen river with buildings and buildings on the side

In Södermalm, we climbed up the cliffside using a series of stairs and steep streets before making our way to the top. The Mariaberget observation deck provides (I’m assuming) a great view of the city but the fog was too thick on our visit. It was difficult to even make out the other side of the river.

a building with a tower and a body of water
a frozen water with buildings in the background

After spending a few minutes walking along the overlook trail a light drizzle started so we ducked into a nearby cafe. After a coffee and a pastry the rain stopped and we headed back out to explore more of the city.

a snowy street between buildings
people walking in a snowy courtyard

As we wandered through Södermalm Mrs. ATX stopped in a few stores to do some shopping. All of the walking and shopping caused us to work up an appetite. We headed to Meatballs for the People where we were able to escape the cold and feast on a variety of different meatballs.

An assorted meatball plate at Meatballs for the People

After lunch, we walked to the nearby Metro station where we bought 24 hour transit passes for SEK 175 (roughly $16.50) which gave us access to the city trams, subways, ferries, and buses. We hopped on a Green Line train for the quick, 2 stop ride back to Gamla Stan (the T-Centralen station was slightly closer to our hotel but we wanted to explore more of Old Town.

Stockholm Metro Green Line Train at Gamla Stan Station

Back in Gamla Stan we wandered around popping in and out of shops before stumbling upon the Nobel Prize Museum.

Exterior of the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm

Not far from the Nobel Prize Museum is the Royal Palace. It was an impressive building though remarkably accessible as people were milling around the Outer Courtyard. The courtyard was surrounded by decorative cannons and had Royal Guards posted.

cannons in a courtyard with a man standing in the background
a man in a blue hat standing in front of a building

The Outer Courtyard also acts as the driveway for the Royal Palace as a VIP came driving through and entered the palace during our visit.

A car entering the Royal Palace in Stockholm

After our visit to the Royal Palace, we headed back through the maze of streets and eventually found ourselves at the narrowest street in Stockholm, Mårten Trotzigs Gränd. At one point the street is only 35 inches wide. It was a popular photo area as groups were snapping photos at both ends.

a person walking down a narrow alley between buildings
a stairs leading up to a building

At the bottom of the street we found ourselves back on the main shopping street through Gamla Stan. We picked up a few souvenirs and headed back to our hotel around 4:30p to get ready for dinner. The weather was getting worse as we walked back.

people walking down a wet street
a bridge over a river in a foggy day

Dinner at Restaurant Ekstedt

I thought about making this a standalone post but, this isn’t a food blog. Instead, if you don’t want to read about one of the wildest culinary experiences I’ve ever had, skip ahead.

Mrs. ATX made us reservations at Restaurant Ekstedt, a restaurant that uses ancient Scandinavian cooking techniques where everything is cooked using only fire. To get there, we left the hotel at 8:00p and headed across the Kungsträdgården towards the restaurant.

Kungsträdgården at night covered in snow

We arrived at the restaurant and were immediately checked in and shown to a table in the entryway. This was the beginning of our culinary tour we were presented with the run of show (menu) for the evening. We also mentioned that Mrs. ATX was expecting so they offered to do an amended menu to keep any raw or high in mercury fish and meat off her menu.

Restaurant Ekstedt Stockholm Tasting Menu

I opted for the wine pairing while Mrs. ATX obviously did not. Our first course, charcoal cream with dry aged raw beef and vendace roe, came out about 15 minutes after arrival.

a menu in a person's hand
a cupcake with a red and yellow topping on a glass dish

After the first course, we moved into the restaurant’s small wood fired kitchen. No gas, electric, etc. is used in the cooking process which made this space a hub of activity.

Wood-Fire Kitchen at Restaurant Ekstedt in Stockholm

The next course was an ember baked scallop and roe which was out of this world.

Ember Baked Scallop and Roe at Restaurant Ekstedt

Our final course in the kitchen was a flambadou wild oyster and beurre blanc. This was one of the most visually entertaining dishes as it was cooked using a red hot funnel with the beurre blanc poured over the oyster.

Oysters being cooked at Restaurant Ekstedt
Flambadou Wild Oyster and Beurre Blanc at Restaurant Ekstedt

Sadly, our time in the kitchen came to an end and we headed to the main dining room. We ended up seated next to a couple from the United States who had spent the last 30 years living and working in England. We hit it off earlier in the kitchen and were happy to be able to visit with them throughout the evening.

The first of seven courses that we would have in the dining room was a birch fired red beetroot with preserved vegetables and marrow. This was followed by a wood oven baked sourdough bread, butter, and smoked whey.

Birch Fired Red Beetroot, Preserved Vegetables, and Marrow at Restaurant Ekstedt
Wood Oven Bakes Sourdough Bread, Butter, and Smoked Whey Restaurant Ekstedt

Continuing down the menu, we had three delicious dishes in a row that consisted of a hay flamed pike perch, seaweed fired langoustine, and juniper smoked reindeer.

Hay Flamed Pike Perch, Squid, and Mangaliza at Restaurant Ekstedt
Seaweed Fired Langoustine, Celerian, and Solaris at Restaurant Ekstedt
Juniper Smoked Reindeer, Black Trumpets and Cherries at Restaurant Ekstedt

For the final two courses of our main meal, we had a light toasted hay granita with flowering quince and apple along with a hearty wood oven fired cep mushroom soufflé with spruce and blueberries.

Toasted Hay Granita, Flowering Quince and Apple at Restaurant Ekstedt
Wood Oven Fired Cep Mushroom Soufflé, Sprice, and Blueberries at Restaurant Ekstedt

At this point we were 10 courses deep but things weren’t done yet. We had one final stop on our tour of Restaurant Ekstedt. Near the front of the restaurant was a lounge space where we were served an assortment of desserts and teas, I also paired this with a Bullet bourbon.

A selection of Assorted Desserts at Restaurant Ekstedt
A selection of Bourbon and Tea at Restaurant Ekstedt

Dinner wrapped up just after midnight and we traded the warm, cozy confines of the restaurant for the cold streets of Stockholm. Rather than walk, we decided to take the subway to Central Station which left us with a short walk to the hotel.

Day 3

On our final day in Stockholm rain was in the forecast and it wasn’t expected to stop. We slept in, had a late breakfast at the hotel, and did some packing before finally venturing out. On the agenda for today was the Vasa Museum where the 17th century Swedish warship Vasa is displayed. We took a tram over to the museum but there were so many people we had to use the 2nd tram. After a 15 minute tram ride and a 5 minute walk, we were at the entrance to the museum.

Entrance to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm

We bought our tickets at the museum for 190 SEK ($18 USD) and, with no line, we headed directly inside. As soon as you enter the museum, you’re dwarfed by the massive 64-gun warship towering above you.

Stern of the Vasa Warship in Stockholm

The museum has a variety of levels that take you from the base of the ship all the way up to the top. Around the outside of the museum were exhibits detailing shipbuilding, daily life, and the use of warships during that time.

Bow View of the Vasa at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm
Stern View of the Vasa  at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm

We spent an hour and a half at the museum before deciding to head for lunch. It was 2:30p at this point so we used the last 30 minutes of our 24 hour transit pass to take the ferry back over towards our hotel.

Djurgården Ferry in Stockholm

The ferry ride was pretty cool and as an avid boater, albeit from the southern united states, it was weird hearing the sounds of ice hitting the hull.

Sailing Through Ice Chunks in Stockholm Sweden

We disembarked at the end of the cove and took a short walk to a local Max Burgers fast food chain for a late lunch (quite the turnaround from the night before). We arrived back at the hotel around 4:00p and finished packing.

For dinner, we headed to a fantastic Italian restaurant for dinner where, for the first time in my international travel, someone looked at me and started speaking in the local language (Maybe I look Swedish?). While I didn’t take any photos, we had a delicious meal at Ristorante Paganini. Afterwards we went directly back to the hotel as we had an early flight the next morning.


Both Mrs. ATX and I went into Stockholm with very low expectations and came away extremely impressed. Despite the nasty weather, the city was warm and inviting and we can’t wait to return. Summertime here looks absolutely magical. It’s been a while since my last visit to Vienna but, Stockholm may have surpassed it as my favorite city in Europe.

In This Trip Report

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